Lovebirds in Metro Vancouver could soon have a place to ‘secure’ their love in a very public way.
On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board will consider a staff plan to provide Vancouverites with an official site to attach their love locks to symbolize their unbreakable love.
The locations shortlisted for such an installation are English Bay Beach, Kitsilano Beach Park Plaza, and the Queen Elizabeth Park Lookout Plaza. Prospect Point in Stanley Park and Jericho Beach were both eliminated from the running as they are less accessible to public transit and people of all ages and abilities.
Only popular tourist locations, where there is a high level of foot traffic, are being considered. A final decision on the location will be decided following a public consultation process this summer.
The love locks concept is believed to have originated in Paris decades ago, and they have since grown to become a phenomenon in cities around the world. However, more recently there have been safety concerns in some cities that the locks are an unsightly nuisance, and in some cases they have even jeopardized public safety.
Until last month, the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris was affixed with a million locks weighing 45 metric tonnes. Parisian officials decided the locks should be removed over safety concerns after a railing collapsed into the River Seine last summer.
And then in April of this year, officials in New York removed approximately 450 padlocks, weighing 75 pounds, from the pedestrian walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge over safety concerns for the drivers below.
This is why the Park Board is exploring opportunities to work with an artist to design and install a metal structure that is structurally safe for attaching love locks. Other cities have also taken this route to reduce the potential risk of such an attraction: a metal structure spelling out the word “LOVE” was installed in Toronto’s Distillery District last year and both Seoul and Moscow have love lock sculptures shaped like a tree.
The idea of a permanent love locks site was first proposed by NPA City Councillor George Affleck in 2014, but the Vision Vancouver-dominated City Council rejected his motion for staff to explore the idea. The idea was revived with the assistance of the newly elected NPA-dominated Park Board.
Vancouver previously had an unsanctioned love locks location on the Burrard Bridge, but the padlocks were removed in 2013 when concerns arose over falling love lock debris onto boats and people in False Creek.
Last year, another cluster of love locks popped up along the False Creek seawall near the Plaza of Nations, however the locks were quickly chopped off by City crews.
Love locks have also popped up on a fence along the Fraser River at Westminster Pier Park in New Westminster. But there are no plans to remove the locks anytime soon as the locks do not pose any risk given the location.